eBay Neighbourhoods – a Missed Opportunity

I have to say that I am rather dissappointed with eBay’s new neighborhood offering.  It seems to simply be an amalgam of components which already exist within eBay, as opposed to a genuine development.  An eBay Neighborhood consists of the following:

  • Discussion boards
  • Blogs
  • Reviews and guides

And of course associated items and members.  What I think is missing is any really interesting functionality to allow members to interact i.e. to discuss and compare items they own and things which they have bought on eBay. 

On the product site eBay Neighborhoods lacks any interesting fuctionality to either bind the community or connect  demand with supply. At the root of this is eBay’s age old problem of not having an inventory for most sellers to fall back on.  This impeads sellers from directly comparing items and easily cataloging their collection.  It also prevent any kinds of recommendation engine of the sort seen on Amazon.   In this book The Long Tail Chris Anderson talks about Social media being the glue which connects demand and supply.  To do this howover there has to be a common point of reference.  If each item is different, how can a community build up a body of recommendations?  Whilst neighborhoods are definiately an advance in items specific social media, there is nothing ‘sticky’ about any of the applications which will make people stay around long enough to find new products

For interesting fuctionality around collections see new products such as MyThings and iTaggit which allow users to log their purchases, share their collections and discuss their hobbies. Squidoo also does a good job of creating ‘experts’ around a certain subject and similar functionality could be used to envigorate eBay’s MyWorld and AboutMe pages

On the social network side, I think that neigbourhoods fail as they are very limited in their social networking functionality.  Members of social networks such as facebook can share a wealth of information about tastes and interests with other members, however on eBay this is very limited.  Members of networks only get the same basic information which is visable to any other eBay user.

I hope the this is merely neighborhoods 1.0, with better things to come.



  1. chipseo says:

    I agree, I did a post about it when it came out and I was not impressed. I would like to see them improve their auction platform and keep the social media stuff to those who do it best. A little is ok I guess, they have blogs and guides and all that. Scott

  2. Nat says:

    I am disappointed to in the Neighbourhoods thing. I thought it would be a great way to connect with other pez collectors, and still buy myself some new Pez. I haven’t heard of MyThings, haven’t been immpressed with Itaggit. I have been on http://www.collectzing.com for a while, and it’s looking good.

  3. Jeff S says:

    “Related Neigborhoods” found to the left of search results are a joke. I did a search for Ron Paul items, and the related neighborhood was The Beatles.

  4. Penelope says:

    If you’re unimpressed with ebay, but like the new range of social network sites out there for collectors, I’d like to reccomend another new site similar to those mentioned, called http://www.kollecta.com. Kollecta.com is an online community that helps you to create virtual collections based around a central database of over 1.1 million items. Whether or not you have it, want it or are selling it: kollecta will connect you with others based the items that you love. Add, edit, rate, value, buy and sell your items online. Join others to discuss, share and discover more about your collection.

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